The podcast hype train passed me by until late 2018. I never understood it and thought it was some Apple specific thing. Then, one evening, on a flight from Amsterdam to Berlin, I thought "I'm too tired to work or read, but I can listen to an interesting story, let's give podcasts a try."

The first episode I listened to was by 99% Invisible. I believe that by the time I got back to Amsterdam a few days later I had listened to about 10 episodes. Half a year later and I had gone through 80% of all episodes. I'm a bit obsessive, and as it turns out, picky. For me to love a podcast it has to be:

  • Authentic. I have a soft spot for the lone podcaster who loves what he/she is doing.
  • Informative. I want to learn new things, and be slightly entertained in the process.
  • Orchestrated. I can't stand random people talking about something without a clear direction.
Orchestrated and Authentic can sometimes conflict. It's a sign of good artistic leadership if that doesn't happen.

Since my first podcast in 2018, virtually no day has gone by without me listening to a podcast. Most nights I fall asleep while listening to one, which I resume the next day. Either I fall asleep and it doesn't matter, or I lie awake and learn something new. Both are good outcomes.

Here are the podcasts that I've listened to a LOT. Thank you to all the hosts, producers and other people involved in creating these.

The A / I / O are the aspects above on a 1-5 scale.

A+ - Have to listen to any new episode:
  • The Memory Palace - A5, I5, O5
  • The Fall of Civilizations - A5, I5, O5
  • Hardcore History - A5, I5, O5
  • The Anthropocene Reviewed - A5, I4, O4
If you know these podcasts you will recognize a common theme. Nostalgia. Apparently it runs deep with me.

A - Loved most of the episodes but not all, or I'm slightly tired of it by now.
  • The Rest is History - A5, I5, O4
  • The History of Rome - A5, I4, O5
  • In Our Time - A4, I4, O5
These podcasts have taught me so much about the world. I feel a bit of Renaissance man because of them.

The Rest is History is actually A+ to me right now, but I know I'll get a bit tired of it eventually. There's there's just so much! I've listened to about 50% of the episodes now. Around 10% of the episodes are not really interesting.

One of the best gifts I've ever received is a signed copy of the Rest Is History. Thank you dearest wife! Here it is:

B - Absolutely loved these in the past but lately I've stopped enjoying them as intense as before
  • 99% Invisible - A3, I2, O5
  • This American Life - A4, I3, O5
  • The Lex Fridman Podcast - A5, I3-5, O3
  • Revisionist History - A3, I3, O5
The style of Revisionist History get tiring a bit too quickly. 99% Invisible and TAL have become a bit too woke for my tastes.

The Lex Fridman podcast is sometimes great, sometimes so-so depending on the guest and the topic. Lex isn't the best interviewer (also definitely not the worst) but the insane level of the guests and high frequency of the podcast is amazing.

C - Pretty enjoyable but too infantilized
  • Cautionary Tales - A2, I3, O3
  • 50 Things That Made the Modern World - A3, I5, O5


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